May 24, 2017

Medical students celebrate commencement

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Commencement 2017 The School of Medicine held its commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 20 at Bartow Arena. Of the 175 graduates in the Class of 2017, 33 percent will remain in Alabama for training, said Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., F.A.C.S., senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine in his welcoming the graduates and their families to the 2017 ceremony. 

Drew Dudley, noted leadership educator and founder of Day One Leadership addressed the graduates in the keynote speech. He shared the deeply personal story of a loved one’s death and his seeking help in dealing with grief to highlight the powerful roles that empathy and humanity play in medicine.

“Every one of you gets to be that doctor if you choose to be,” he told the graduates. “Each of you can give people back their humanity if you choose to.”

“You should be so proud of what you’ve accomplished… and so proud of how hard you have worked to become doctors,” Dudley later said. “Now please spend the rest of your lives working twice as hard to make sure the fact that you’re a doctor is the least impressive thing about you. Because if you do that, success will follow you all the days of your life.”

During the ceremony, Craig J. Hoesley, M.D., senior associate dean for Medical Education, presented the school-wide awards during Sunday’s ceremony.  Jennifer Cushing Bares received the Hugh J. Dempsey Award, given to the students with the highest overall academic achievement over the four-year course of medical school.

Will Stephens Rutland from the Class of 2017, and James H. Willig, M.D., MSPH, associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and assistant dean for clinical education in the School of Medicine, were presented with the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards. Sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, these honors are given each year to a graduating student and faculty member in recognition of their value of humanism in the delivery of care to patients and their families.


Omar Imad Ramadan received the Medical Alumni Association Community Leadership Award, presented by MAA President Timothy Hecker, M.D.

A Military Promotion Ceremony was held earlier Sunday morning to honor and celebrate graduates who will enter military training programs.  Colonel John P. McGuinness, State Surgeon General for the Alabama National Guard, presided over the ceremony and administered the oath of office. Family and friends pinned the military rank on the graduates’ uniforms.

Students honored at the annual ceremony were Devin Reese Broadwater (U.S. Air Force), Mary Megan Ayres (U.S. Air Force) and Mikell Robertson Pearce Jr. (U.S. Navy). 

See photos and video on the School of Medicine Facebook page. For a full list of award winners from Sunday’s ceremony, click here.
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